5S Resource Center


Standardize, the fourth of the 5S’s, involves putting the systems in place to ensure that everyone does things the same way.

  • The methodology for Sorting needs to be standardized, the approach to Set in Order needs to be standardized, and Shine especially needs to be standardized.

In order to standardize

  • Roles and responsibilities must be clear and consistently applied.
  • Training will be necessary to ensure all know how to apply 5S techniques and “copy exactly,” or apply them the same way.
  • And, as with any improvement initiative, the effort must not be allowed to become static but must continuously evolve and grow.

Roles and responsibilities

  • Roles in a 5S effort are straightforward. Leaders must set the tone and lead by example.
  • Managers and supervisors must commit to the initiative, provide time for the workforce to develop and implement 5S changes, provide guidance with those changes, and support the 5S changes.
  • Members of the workforce must embrace 5S principles and practices and help implement the 5S’s in their work areas.

5S training

  • Universal indoctrination in general 5S techniques is needed to help build a common 5S vocabulary and skill base.
  • As the 5S’s are adopted work-area by work-area, each area will develop unique approaches and methods; anyone working in a specific work area must receive training in those work-area-specific methods.
  • And, just like with any new skill, practice makes “perfect.”

Copy exactly

  • Standardization is about creating best practices and then getting everyone to “copy exactly,” using the established best practices the same way, everywhere, and every time.
  • Implementing a “copy exactly” mentality involves establishing standardized rules.
  • Visual factory techniques including color-coding, checklists, and labeling help reinforce a copy exactly approach.

Continuous improvement

  • It works best when the approaches used to improve 5S techniques and practices are standardized as well.
  • For example, if an organization does use a common problem-solving process, time spent communicating new ideas and spreading lessons learned to other work areas will be saved.